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This time last year I was working on a story about noise and how it affects the body, mind and soul. I loved writing it because it was personal for me, which is why I originally pitched it! This was pre-concussion, but my husband and I spent most nights fighting over the remote. I would turn the volume down. He would turn it up. I realized I was sound-sensitive and started doing research. There was so much out there I knew I needed to write about it! For example, did you know that noise has an adverse affect on health, productivity, stress levels? Pretty much every part of your body and mind suffers when you are exposed to too much noise. I included this in my original query.

My editor loved the idea and asked me to write 2,000 words on the topic. The resulting story was assigned in March, filed in May and published in the November issue of Experience Life. Then I got a concussion and I found out how truly debilitating sound could be. All through this journey I have struggled with noise to the point that I ended up having custom-made earplugs made. Even today I sleep with cotton in my ears at night so I don’t wake up.

I was really proud of the story, and hoped people liked it. Yesterday, I found out that — for some people — the story was life-changing. I actually got an email via this blog. The author of the email gave me permission to publish it, so here it is:

Dear Ms. Bannan,

You wrote an article for the November 2014 issue of Experience Life magazine. I was fascinated with the ideas in your article and that started me thinking about how to share this information with others.

Your article served as inspiration for a project I wrote for my sixth graders at Clarendon School in Phoenix, Arizona. The project was submitted in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow 2015 contest and was chosen as the state winner for Arizona. The students then got to work in class and around campus. Our video was chosen as one of fifteen national finalists.

Below is a link to our video. We hope you like it and we wanted you to know that your article was the catalyst. We have been invited to New York City to give a live pitch to Samsung about our project. Two teachers and two students will be presenting at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum on Wednesday, March 18th. We would love to meet you if you are in town that day and available.

Thank you, Jill

I was floored and humbled. I shed a tear or two. I posted it to my Facebook page and my friends made me feel even more humbled as one by one they added little notes of encouragement and love.

I have been a journalist for a very long time. I have written for some of the best publications out there — The Wall Street Journal, Time, Scientific American, The New York Times, Health, Redbook, Fitness, Woman’s Day. However, this note and this story is probably one of the things I am proudest of. (Maybe my Parents Magazine story about miscarriage comes in a close second…)

Anyway, please watch Jill’s video and please vote for her! I would love to see her team win this contest! And in the meantime, think about sound and noise. It can change your life!

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